Midwives’ personal use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) influences their recommendations to women experiencing a post-date pregnancy

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Journal Article
Women and Birth, 2018, 31 (1), pp. 44 - 51
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© 2017 Australian College of Midwives Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) have increasingly been used by pregnant women with a steady rise in interest by midwives. Literature describing CAM and self-help options midwives recommend to women experiencing a post-date pregnancy is sparse. This study aimed to investigate if Australian midwives’ personal CAM use impacts on discussions and recommendations of CAM/Self-help strategies. Methodology/design: A survey of a national midwifery association midwifery members (n = 3,552) was undertaken at a midwifery conference (October 2015) and via e-bulletins (November 2015–March 2016). The self-administered survey included questions on what self-help and CAM strategies midwives discuss and recommend to women with a post-date pregnancy, midwives’ confidence levels on discussing or recommending CAM, midwives’ own personal use of CAM. Findings: A total of 571 registered midwives completed the survey (16%). Demographics (age, years as a midwife, state of residence) reflected Australian midwives and the midwifery association membership. Most respondents discuss (91.2%) and recommend (88.6%) self-help/CAM strategies to women with a post-date pregnancy. The top five CAM recommended were Acupuncture (65.7%), Acupressure (58.1%), Raspberry Leaf (52.5%), Massage (38.9%) and Hypnosis/Calmbirthing/Hypnobirthing (35.7%). Midwives were more likely to discuss strategies if they personally used CAM (p <.001), were younger (p <.001) or had worked less years as midwives (p =.004). Midwives were more likely to recommend strategies if they used CAM in their own pregnancies (p =.001). Conclusion: Midwives’ personal use of CAM influenced their discussions and recommendations of CAM/self-help strategies to women experiencing a post-date pregnancy. This study has implications for inclusion of CAM in midwifery education curricula.
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